With the Nova Scotia election campaign now it its final days, there was a protest outside of Province House on Friday. The Disability Rights Coalition wants better support to help them live in the community.
The Liberal government committed to a road map in 2013 and made promises to close institutions by 2023 and provide community-based living for people living with disabilities or autism spectrum disorder.
But what has the Liberal government done? Has their community seen any change implemented?
“None. Absolutely none. And I am done being played. I am done waiting. I’ve waited nine years in a nursing home. I refuse to be silent or wait any longer,” said the spokesperson for the Disability Rights Coalition, Vicky Levack.
Levack had the opportunity to briefly speak with the Nova Scotia Liberal leader, Iain Rankin, last weekend while he was out campaigning this weekend. She wanted to express her concerns about how the Liberal government (who committed to the road map in 2013) have failed her.
Although Rankin didn’t have much to say, he did tell her he was “proud of her,” to which she responded: “I don’t need you to be proud of me. I need serious — and I’ll say it louder for the people in the back — systematic change.”
April Hubbard also showed up to show her support. She has been in a wheelchair for the past 20 years and lives independently with a roommate, who is also in a wheelchair. They take care of one another when they are sick as opposed to going to the hospital, as they are fearful of being sent to an institution where her freedom would be taken from her.
“I want to be independent just like everyone else and make my own decisions and be able to date and keep a job and just jump in the car when I want to and choose who my roommates are and who my neighbours are,” said Hubbard.
Julia White attended the rally with her mother, Gillian Grant. Julia was placed in a small options home as an emergency placement when her mother had surgery. She had to be medicated against her will in order to stay in the house.
She wasn’t allowed to have her friends visit her. Her parents tried to advocate for her but were told to stop complaining.
“I was told if I didn’t stop complaining to the psychiatrist that I would have my rights taken away as a parent and they would institutionalize her.” said Grant
Both the NDP leader, Gary Burrill, and the Progressive Conservative leader, Tim Houston, agree that they are committed to see the RoadMap come to fruition but admit it is a process that cannot happen overnight. They both commit to a four-year plan.
Rankin has not made himself available to media in two days, but when he spoke with Levack last weekend, he said he will try and do better to provide community-based homes for people with disabilities.